Space Primacy

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Coincidentally at the time I was thinking about what new endeavors to undertake, Apple announced its new programming language Swift. Swift looked fresh and exciting and it didn’t have those square brackets that somehow always got in the way. So I dived into the new material and started learning Swift.

Then I got that crazy idea about developing a game. Probably since getting my first computer and playing “Digger” and “Duke Nukem” on a CGA monitor attached to an MS-DOS PC, I’ve been thinking that developing a game would be quite cool. But somehow I never got beyond programming some animations.

Looking at the games I played on my iPhone and iPad, I realized that there is just one that I keep returning to. That game is Letterpress. The reason for my sticking to this game is that it is a turn-based strategy game I can play against random opponents via Game Center. There’s no need for finger acrobatics and no timer ticking away on you. And although the game has rather simple rules it’s always new as you play on a different board against different people.

So I wanted to create something of that kind. The barriers looked quite surmountable. Game Center provides the whole networking layer and SpriteKit is a nice and simple game engine.

Looking around the internet, I came across a description of a board game that looked perfectly suitable for an adaptation as a game for the iPhone and iPad. It has interesting rules and the board is dynamic in a way that it can be laid out perfectly on any of the different iPhone and iPad screen sizes.

8 months later we’re here and Space Primacy is available on the App Store. As the packaging tells , it’s a turn-based strategy game for two players. Your goal as a player is to assert your space primacy — that’s where the name of the game comes from. Each match is played in a different galaxy and to win it you have to either destroy the headquarters of you opponent or expel them from it. There’s no diplomacy. It’s all about winning a war. So it’s down to tactics and a good portion of economics.

Apart from the mentioned online matches via Game Center, there are also two modes for local matches. There is one local mode for when you are on a train with your opponent or otherwise sit side by side on a sofa or something like that, passing the iPhone between the two of you for each turn. In that case Space Primacy rotates the board so you don’t need to rotate the device between turns.

The other mode is the classic board game mode where you and your opponent sit across from each other with the iPad or iPhone on a table between yourselves. Neither the device nor the board needs rotating and both players have optimal access to the controls needed to issue commands to their space ships.

As I dislike ads and freemium apps that nag you to buy another chest of gold, Space Primacy has neither. It has a price and if you pay it, you get all of it.

And here’s the magical last sentence: I hope you’ll enjoy playing it as much as I enjoyed developing it.